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The Paw Print

The Paw Print

Rebuilding season offers promise for badminton program

Jennifer Godwin-Minto

“Every shuttlecock tells a story of determination and grace during a grueling badminton season,” said sophomore Taylor Yong, a statement that perfectly encapsulates Poly badminton’s 2024 campaign. The Panthers’ journey this season has been one of perseverance, teamwork and achievements.
The Panthers finished their league season with an imperfect 6-10 record but remained undefeated in their two non-league games. Despite being a relatively small team with a roster of only 15 players, the Panthers demonstrated exceptional resilience and spirit. The group comprised a tight-knit and diverse mix of grades, with six freshmen, three sophomores, five juniors and one senior, Natasha Llanto-Kharbanova. With nine underclassmen, the team has a strong young core, promising a bright future. The team was further supported by their dedicated coaching trio: Alistair Casey, Luis Ibarra and Tyson Lo.
The 2024 season culminated in a historic playoff run, where the team achieved their first-ever CIF win, triumphing over Rialto High School with a stunning 19-2 score in the first round of the playoffs. Despite their valiant efforts, they unfortunately narrowly missed advancing to the third round, falling to Millikan High School with a final score of 9-12.
Sophomore Bridget Bickell shared her thoughts on the team’s bond, saying,  “I’ve always enjoyed the team dynamic and how even though we have so many amazing players, no one ever acts superior to one another. Everyone is supportive and creates a community where I want to strive to be a better player.” Bickell’s sentiments highlight the team’s unity and mutual support, which played a crucial role in their journey to the playoffs. Their success was not due to individual efforts but to a collective team effort, embodying the true spirit of badminton.
As the Panthers look back on their record-breaking season, they have much to be proud of. Their determination, resilience and teamwork have set a new standard for the program and have laid a strong foundation for future success. The experiences and lessons learned this season will undoubtedly inspire and motivate the team as they continue to strive for excellence in the years to come. With a blend of seasoned players and promising new talent, the future looks bright for this resilient and determined team. The story of their season, as Yong put it, is one of determination and grace — a testament to what can be achieved through hard work and a unified team spirit.


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